Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding main selling point is often the fact that is virtually maintenance free. However, while the physical qualities of vinyl will last for years, the aesthetics won’t. At some point, every home owner will look at their siding and wonder “can you paint vinyl siding?” Vinyl siding can be painted, but it has some limitations and you must keep the following in mind before you start:

  • Thermal expansion
  • Original and desired paint colour
  • Paint type used

To prepare the surface to paint plastic siding you must use soap and water, using a sponge instead of pressure washing. You also must avoid painting vinyl while on direct sunlight because vinyl siding changes size when it heats up or cools down. That is known as thermal expansion. Vinyl will expand when hot, and contract when cold. That means a gap could be seen at the borders of the siding in cold weather, when the newly painted vinyl contracts.

You can’t also paint vinyl siding any colour: unless you use specially designed heat reflecting paints, using a darker colour than the original may cause warping and bucking. This is because vinyl is designed, at factory, to be able to absorb a specific amount of heat and that amount directly correlates with how dark it is. If you pain vinyl that was originally light coloured in a darker shade, it will absorb more heat than it was designed to handle, and it will warp. Repairing warped vinyl siding often requires replacing all or at least parts of it, so it can be an expensive mistake.

Vinyl paint is a blend of urethane and acrylic resins, in order to provide enough adhesive power to stick to the plastic vinyl layer. Low quality paints, or those who are too watery or not designed for vinyl will just crack and slide down, leaving a patchy and not really beautiful result. If you are going to paint your siding, spend some money on high quality paints that will last.